Evidence from 35-year-old ETX murder case sent off for further D - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Evidence from 35-year-old ETX murder case sent off for further DNA testing

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Cook released from jail in 1999. Cook released from jail in 1999.
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

More than a dozen pieces of evidence collected from the crime scene of a 1977 East Texas murder have been sent to Dallas for further DNA testing.

In late February, Kerry Max Cook filed a motion in Smith County requesting more post-forensic DNA testing. Cook says that testing would clear his name of the murder of a Tyler woman, Linda Jo Edwards.

Monday, Smith County Assistant District Attorney Michael West said a judge issued an order in late May telling Garland DPS and the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences to send what evidence they still had to Orchid Cellmark in Dallas for DNA testing.

West says the following evidence was sent off:

  • a cutting from a pair of the victim's panties
  • half a swab of a stain from lead
  • two stains from the victim's bra
  • a hair from the victim's bra
  • blood samples from Kerry Max Cook 
  • blood samples from James Mayfield (a man the victim was known to have had an affair with)
  • frozen DNA extracts from stains on the victim's panties
  • swabs from a glass lid
  • swabs from a knife
  • a sample of human blood from the victim's blue jeans
  • trace material from stockings
  • trace material from head hair

"There's no telling how long it's going to take to test them," West says. 

Cook went to trial three times for the murder of Edwards. Two of his convictions were overturned by an appeals court, and one of his trials ended in a mistrial.

In 1999, Cook agreed to a plea deal in which he plead no contest, and was released from jail. However, the murder conviction has remained on his record. 

For 35 years Cook has been proclaiming his innocence. If tests from the evidence lead to Cook's exoneration, he could receive up to $80,000 per year for every year he served in prison.


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